A Message from the Dean
A 1L Odyssey
Alumni Fill Halls of Academe
New LAS President Hopes to Increase Outreach to Alumni
Levy Scholars Program Provides 'Mark of Distinction' for Top Students
Tanenbaum Hall Turns 10
Judge Rosenn Inspires A Following Among Former Clerks
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
 
Abou El-Fadl L'89 1 - 2 - 3

 
FEATURED ALUMNI PROFILES
ABOU EL-FADL L'89
Takes Academic Route to Become Major Islamic Thinker
F. SCOTT KIEFF L'94
Emerging as Top Young IP and Patent Scholar
MARCI HAMILTON L'88
A Constitutional Expert on Church-State Issues
RICHARD MATASAR C'74, L'77
Innovative Dean of New York Law School
CARRIE J. MENKEL-MEADOW L'74
Pioneers Civil Dispute Resolution and Women's Roles in Law
BERNARD WOLFMAN C'46, L'48
Enjoys Intellectual Freedom That Teaching Confers
Abou El-Fadl

Enthralled With the ‘Big Picture’, Abou El Fadl Takes Academic Route To Become Major Islamic Thinker

by Tasneem Paghdiwala

As a Penn Law student, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl L’89 discovered he had a knack for working through the minute details and often tedious technicalities that are the trademark of legal education. But while classes that dealt heavily with the “nuts and bolts” of the law didn’t prove to be very difficult for him, Abou El Fadl found himself gravitating instead towards courses with titles like Philosophy of Law or Theory of Rights.

“I was infatuated with the intellectual issues of the law, and not as interested in its technical application. The ‘bigger picture’ is what held my attention,” he recalls. But though his interest clearly lay more in the classroom than in the judge’s chambers, Abou El Fadl still had his responsibilities as a new husband and father to consider when mapping out his post-graduation plans.

For the first few years after law school, he stuck to what he then considered the more practical route and exercised his proficiency with the technical application of the law. He accepted a position at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, a large Washington, D.C. firm where he had held a summer associate position while at Penn Law, and he later clerked for Arizona Supreme Court Justice James Moeller. As he toiled through numerous cases and briefs over the years, he thought that his fascination with the “bigger picture” would diminish. Instead, it became increasingly apparent that academia was his true calling. A native of Kuwait and a devoted scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, Abou El Fadl began a Ph.D. program in Islamic Studies at Princeton University. As a means of support for his family, he continued to practice immigration and investment law in the United States and in the Middle East while completing his doctoral work.

 
Previous Page Next Page